Title: One Great Problem
The Point: Without Christ, we are condemned forever.
Get Into the Study
Use the following activity to introduce today’s session.
As your group gathers today to dive into the lesson ask them what problems they see in the world.
With a quick glance at the news headlines you can see many things wrong with world. Things such as disease, terrorism, weather issues, and even the climbing price of the EpiPen fill our news feeds. So many issues are swirling around our world and it’s easy to be distracted and discouraged.
As your group discusses current issues, have them also talk about ways they cope with these world issues. Do they seek wisdom from friends and family? Do these events impact their choices and decision making?
Today’s session examines the greatest problem we have: our sin. Unlike the events in the headlines that leave us discouraged and wondering, our sin problem has already been solved. Christ’s death and resurrection has provided all that’s needed for us to be forgiven of our sin.
Dr. Beth Masters works with college students at Mississippi College where she is the Director of Christian Life and Ministries. She has a PhD in Christian Education from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Beth loves young adults, baking, and coffee.
Use the following illustration to supplement your group’s discussion of Question #4, or as a way to transition into application for the week to come.
We live in a day and age where mass violence is taking place at an alarming rate. As a matter of fact, so many shootings and bombings across the globe have happened this year that scenes like this are becoming more and more commonplace.
We are, many of us, ruled by the fear of the evil inside of others.
But what about the evil in our own hearts? We may feel pretty good about the condition of our hearts when we compare ourselves to terrorists and mass murderers. But what if we compare ourselves with Jesus? What if we measure ourselves by God’s standard of holiness?
These questions can be discouraging — until we remember that we’re coated in the grace of God, and that all good things come through Him. Hold onto that grace this week whenever you’re confronted with the evil present in the hearts of others — and in your own heart, as well.
— Ashley Emmert wrote this Leader Extra. She is a freelance writer and editor who lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her sweet Southern husband and their small scrappy dogs. Find her at ashleygraceemmert.com or on Twitter @ashgemmert.
- What do you think society’s biggest problem is? Explain. What do you think would fix it?
- What’s the biggest problem you faced this past week?
- What are some family characteristics that you have observed that have passed from one generation to another?
- Why do you think this passage lumps all people together as sinners instead of separating them by degrees of sinfulness, based on those who are more or less sinful?
- How hopeless is our situation?
- How does our culture define and use the word “sin”?
- Why do you think it’s easier to see the sin in others rather than in ourselves?
- What are some examples of evil in the world that was the result of sin?
- Why does sin seem to come naturally to us, but obedience does not?
- If you were trying to argue your innocence before God based on your own goodness, what evidence would you present?
- Why would all your best evidence be inadequate for you to be judged righteous?
- If you knew the judgment day was tomorrow, whom would you warn today? What would you say to them?
- Why do you think most of us don’t feel a great sense of urgency everyday to rescue those at risk for judgment because they don’t know Jesus?
- How often do you rationalize your bad behaviors?
- Do you feel that you are “good enough” to escape God’s judgment?
- How have you tried to deflect or defend sin in your own life?
- Why do people often try to compare their own sinful condition to someone else’s?
- Why is the worst sinner who recognized he has fallen short of God’s glory closer to finding God than the ‘basically good’ person who doesn’t think she has a sin problem?
- Why must you recognize you fall short of God’s glory before you are in a position to receive His grace for salvation?
- What does it mean to “fall short of the glory of God”?
- What attributes of God do you fall particularly short of?
- Since God is omniscient, why is it necessary to confess our sin to Him?
Share the following with your group members as either a devotional before the group study or as a follow-up devotional: